Monza: PBM Kawasaki Sunday report

SEASON'S BEST FOR SYKES AT MONZA Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes saw his hard work rewarded with a superb fifth placing at round five of the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Championship which took place at Monza in Italy today. Riding the...

SEASON'S BEST FOR SYKES AT MONZA

Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes saw his hard work rewarded with a superb fifth placing at round five of the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Championship which took place at Monza in Italy today.

Riding the factory Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, the Yorkshireman set the scene by qualifying on the second row during yesterday's Superpole and in race one around the historic track near Milan, Sykes got a good start and was in ninth place coming out of turn one. At the end of lap one, Tom was in eighth spot but was overtaken by Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus to maintain tenth spot for most of the race before grabbing a deserved ninth at the flag.

Race two saw the drama unfold from the start when a turn one pile up involving a number of the leading riders saw Sykes take advantage and move into third spot. For the remainder of the race, he was locked in battle but at the chequered flag, he'd done enough to claim a fantastic fifth spot which was the team's best result of the season.

There was reward of a different kind for Australian team-mate Chris Vermeulen who was still struggling with the movement in his right knee following the Phillip Island crash. Despite the injury not improving as much as he would have liked, he gamely battled on through the weekend.

The former World Supersport Champion qualified on row five of the grid before battling to 18th in race one but a dogged performance in race two saw him add to the points he scored at the previous round at Assen with a hard-fought 13th place to make it a successful race for the Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport team.

Sykes has now scored in eight out of the ten races so far and holds 14th place in the standings with Vermeulen occupying 19th after two successive points scoring meetings. The next round takes place next weekend when the team heads to Kyalami in South Africa for round six of the thirteen round series.

Rounding off a great weekend for the team was team owner Paul Bird who took a comprehensive victory in this weekend's Manx Telecom Rally in his Ford Focus WRC, thus retaining the title he won last year.

Tom Sykes: "I made two good race starts this weekend and stayed out of trouble, which has really paid off. I was a bit frustrated at the start of race two as I was unable to maintain a place early on in the race, but I knew it was important to keep consistent on the tyres. Every time I passed the pit board and saw my positions creeping up, it really encouraged me. I had a good battle with Haga and I went to make the pass and we kept coming past each other for a few laps. With two laps to go, I really went for it and it paid off. I rode defensively to keep my position and I am thrilled to finish in fifth place in race two and to have two top ten race finishes under my belt. All credit to the team, these results are well deserved. It's given us all a confidence boost, now we just have to keep on it!"

Chris Vermeulen: "I got a good start in race one as we made a few small changes to the bike before the race, unfortunately, the changes weren't in the right direction. My right knee was also giving me some problems, so race one was a bit of a struggle for me. In race two we went back to the original settings which really improved the bike. We had another good start, however I made a mistake on the Ascari chicane on lap one and came very close to Max Neukirchner and Shakey Byrne and ran off the track. I got back on and picked up my pace for the final laps. I'm really pleased to be racing closely with Max Neukirchner under the circumstances and I'm happy with my 13th place.

Paul Risbridger, Team Manager: "It has been a fabulous weekend for the team. Tom's performance has been strong from the first session and he has continued to improve all weekend. To achieve two top ten results puts us right on target for our 2010 objectives. We are really pleased with both riders' performances, especially in the second race with Tom fighting back for fifth place and to see Chris racing strongly with some fast lap times towards the end of race two. This weekend has been a real confidence boost for the whole team."

-source: pbm

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Ruben Xaus , Chris Vermeulen , Tom Sykes , Max Neukirchner , Jonathan Rea , Paul Bird , Phillip Island